Lotus Cars has today issued a bizarre press release in a counter attack against suggestions that the company is in trouble.
While it took pot shots at Tony Fernandes, Mike Gascoyne and others, it also provided some useful detail about the current relationship between Group Lotus and Lotus F1.
As I revealed last month on http://www.speed.com, the F1 team is no longer sponsored by the car company. Instead the new arrangement takes the form of a £30m loan from Proton, and today’s statement gives precise details of the deal – including the fact that the F1 team in its entirety has been put up as collateral, meaning that if the loan is not repaid, Proton will gain control of the team.
With regard to the F1 involvement, the statement reads as follows: “Lotus F1 Team and Group Lotus have reshaped their commercial relationship earlier this year. The new governance agreement signifies the continued commitment of Group Lotus to the team and the sport.
“Group Lotus’ branding and marketing rights and subsequent activities remain unaffected by the new agreement until at least 2017. Alongside continued branding and title partnership status, Group Lotus is also the exclusive master licensee for all Lotus F1 Team merchandise.
“The new agreement was reached following Group Lotus owners Proton providing team owners Genii with a £30m loan which is repayable within three years. In order to secure the loan Genii used 100% of the F1 team’s assets as collateral meaning that under the conditions of the loan agreement Proton have been given full title guarantee to all plant, machinery, show cars, computers, office and the Lotus F1 Team headquarters.
“In addition Proton retains the rights to purchase 10% of the F1 team. Another 10% share option will be activated if the team default on their loan obligations with Proton.”